Inside Politics

Acting budget watchdog keeps Kevin Page's fight alive

Somewhere, former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page is almost certainly smiling. 

Yesterday's federal court ruling confirmed the former PBO's contention that the court does indeed have jurisdiction over disputes involving his office. In response to the ruling, his temporary replacement, Parliamentary Librarian Sonia L'Heureux, will take Page's seemingly perennial battle for full, unfettered access to the financial data he consistently maintained was essential to do the job to the next logical step.

L'Heureux said in a statement today she intends to make a formal request for the specific fiscal information that would be required to respond to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's request. That's a step not taken by Page, who went straight to the court to inquire whether such a demand was within his power -- and although L'Heureux says that she "expects" that data to be "duly provided by the government department and agencies" involved, she makes it clear that she's ready to go back to court if it is not. 

The full statement: 

Sonia L'Heureux, the Parliamentary Budget Officer on an interim basis, is pleased that the Federal Court of Canada has rendered a timely decision regarding the questions raised by the PBO in responding to Mr. Mulcair's request for analysis.

In its decision, the Federal Court has said that the statutory mandate of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) includes estimating the financial cost of any proposal that relates to a matter over which Parliament has jurisdiction when requested to do so by a member of the Senate or House of Commons.

In light of the Court's decision, the PBO intends to request the information required in order to respond to the request from Mr. Thomas Mulcair, M.P. We expect that the requested information will be duly provided by the government departments and agencies. If a dispute arises, the Court has said it will be available to assist with its resolution.
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